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Your Ears and Your Oral Health

The ears are fascinating. They can help us communicate and keep us safe from danger, and they can even keep our bodies in balance. But when something is wrong, they can really cause a lot of problems.

If you experience trouble with your ears such as ringing or cracking noises, you likely know how frustrating and uncomfortable these problems can be. But what causes these noises, and what can you do to prevent them? Believe it or not, it could have something to do with your oral health!

While it may sound like something is cracking or popping in your ears, cracking can often be harmless. Sometimes it’s caused by something as simple as a change in air pressure. This can occur as you change elevations such as when you drive up a mountain or fly on an airplane. There are some other more serious disorders that may cause that cracking sound, however. Here are just a few reasons you may hear cracking sounds.

Impacted Ear Wax

Ear wax is a combination of dead skin cells, sebaceous oil, and ceruminous oil. It usually clears out either on its own or with cotton swabs, but sometimes it can become impacted in the eardrum and cause difficulty hearing, itchiness, a feeling of fullness in the ear canal, and loss of balance. If you think you may have impacted ear wax do not attempt to clean it yourself with a cotton swab- seek medical advice for safe ways that will not push the wax further into the ear canal.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s Disease is a condition of the ear canal that causes hearing loss and dizziness known as vertigo. It usually occurs in just one ear and affects people between the ages of 20 and 50.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Eustachian tube dysfunction is a condition that causes the eustachian tubes in the ears to become blocked. These tubes normally remain closed unless we yawn or swallow, but can become blocked when we are sick or have allergies.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a condition of the jaw which can be caused by genetics, stress, or injury. Though it primarily affects our oral health by causing difficulty when we chew, speak, breathe, or move our jaw, it can also cause ringing or cracking in the ears. If you are experiencing ear ringing or cracking as well as jaw pain, you could be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Mingus today to learn more about your treatment options.